November 26th – Boulder       No. 14 Utah 63, Colorado 21

Colorado posted a grand total of one first down and 18 total yards of offense in the first half, leading to a 42-0 deficit at the break, with No. 14 Utah coasting to a 63-14 victory. The Buffs finished the season with a 1-11 record, joining the 2012 Jon Embree team as the only 11-loss teams in school history.

Utah quarterback Cam Rising threw for three first half touchdowns, completing 17-of-19 passes for 234 yards as the Buff defense couldn’t stop the Utes. At the break, Utah had 379 yards to CU’s 18, with 20 first downs, averaging almost ten yards per play. The Buff offense, meanwhile, went three-and-out in seven of eight first half drives, averaging less than a yard per play.

Redshirt freshman Maddox Kopp made his first career start at quarterback, completing 15-of-28 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown – a one-yarder to offensive lineman Frank Fillip on a tackle-eligible pass in the final minutes. In the decisive first half, however, Kopp was 5-of-14 for 26 yards, with the Buffs posting negative yardage rushing the ball. In the first two quarters, the Buffs had a total of 13 carries … for minus-eight yards.

“I don’t believe in moral victories normally, but tonight I did,” said CU interim head coach Mike Sanford, who finished with a 1-6 record in that role. “For that team, that locker room of players to not only not quit but actually go fight and put together a really good second half of football  speaks to exactly what’s going on in that group and in our business organization right now. It’s been fight. It’s been character. It’s been fighting through all the adversity that we continue to face.”

Game Story … Colorado opened the game with a new quarterback behind center, with redshirt freshman Maddox Kopp getting his first career start. Kopp’s first career attempt fell incomplete, with the Buffs going three-and-out to start the game, losing one yard in three plays.

And that was a highlight for the Buffs on the afternoon.

The Buff defense did manage to force a three-and-out from the Utah offense on its first possession, also a highlight on the day. Three minutes into the game, it was still 0-0, with neither team gaining a first down on their opening possession.

And so ends all that can be said positive about CU’s 2022 finale.

CU’s second drive … three plays, seven yards … punt.

On Utah’s second possession, the Utes marched down the field to take the lead for good. It took the Utes eight plays to cover 59 yards, facing only one third down on the drive. Running back Micah Bernard scored from eight yards out to make it a 7-0 game midway through the first quarter.

CU’s third drive … three plays, minus-nine yards, including a fumble … punt.

It took the Utes only four plays to score again, with the drive covering 53 yards. A Ja’Quinden Jackson ten-yard scoring run made it 14-0 with 2:20 left in the first.

CU’s fourth drive … three plays, three yards, with Alex Fontenot gaining all three yards on two carries … punt.

Utah’s next touchdown drive covered 80 yards, but it took only seven plays, with the Utes not facing so much as a third down on the drive. Ja’Quinden Jackson scored his second touchdown, upping the lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter.

CU’s fifth drive … the Buffs earned their first first down of the game, with Kopp completing a 12-yard pass to Montana Lemonious-Craig on the first play of the drive. The next four plays gained nine yards, however, with CU turning the ball over on downs at its own 45.

Already up 21-0, and taking over on CU’s side of the field, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham showed a decided lack of class on Utah’s next drive. The Utes faced a fourth-and-four at the Colorado 23-yard line at the midway point in the second quarter. Instead of attempting a 40-yard field goal, the Utes went for a first down. The Buffs’ defense held, though, with Cam Rising’s pass falling incomplete.

Didn’t matter.

CU’s sixth drive … the Buffs went backwards again, with Maddox Kopp being sacked along the way. In three plays, the Buffs lost 12 yards, with the offense walking off with its fifth three-and-out in six drives in the first half.

Utah responded with a two-play drive of its own, but instead of going backward, the Utes scored again. A Cameron Rising touchdown pass to Thomas Yassmin covered 41 yards, making it 28-0 with just under five minutes remaining in the half.

CU’s seventh drive … another three-and-out, with three Maddox Kopp incompletions taking less than a minute of clock before putting the Buff defense back on the field.

Not content with a four-score lead, Utah’s offense went 67 yards in seven plays to score again – with four passes doing most of the damage. Quarterback Cameron Rising posted his second touchdown pass of the quarter with a nine-yard scoring pass to Money Parks with 52 seconds to play.

You would have thought that the Buffs would have been able to run out less than a minute of clock, and head into the locker room down 35-0, but, for the second game in a row, Colorado surrendered double digit points in the final minute of the second quarter. CU’s eighth drive of the half became the Buffs’ seventh three-and-out of the half, gaining all of seven yards – in 24 seconds – giving the ball back to Utah with 28 seconds left before the break.

Was Whittingham content with a 35-0 lead? Nope. The Utes came out throwing, with Cameron Rising pass completing a 29-yard touchdown pass to tight Dalton Kincaid with three seconds remaining before half.

Halftime score: No. 14 Utah 42, Colorado 0

How absurd were the first half statistics?

  • Total yards … Utah 379; Colorado 18
  • First downs … Utah 20; Colorado 1
  • Third down conversions: Utah 1-3; Colorado 0-8
  • Punts … Utah 1; Colorado 7
  • Average yards per play … Utah 9.7; Colorado 0.7

The start of the second half was not inconsistent with most of the first half, with Utah marching uncontested down the field. A pass by Utah backup quarterback Bryson Barnes, though, was intercepted by Nikko Reed. The sophomore cornerback took the pick from the CU 33-yard line to the Utah 11 for a 56-yard return.

Taking over at the Utah 11, Maddox Kopp quickly returned the favor, throwing an interception of his own … but … Utah was called for defensive holding, giving the ball back to the Buffs … and giving CU its second first down of the game. Two runs by senior running back Alex Fontenot, the second coming from a yard out, got the Buffs on the board three minutes into the second half. Utah 42, Colorado 7.

After CU’s two-play scoring drive, the Utes responded with a two-play drive of their own, with the Utes’ drive covering 75 yards. Two runs by Ja’Quinden Jackson, the first for nine yards, the second for 66, restored Utah’s six touchdown advantage.

Following CU’s eighth three-and-out of the game, Utah again struck quickly. Again showing a complete lack of class, Kyle Whittingham again went for a first down on fourth down, this time near midfield. After Bryson Barnes ran for 32 yards on fourth-and-one at the Utah 47, Bryson Barnes threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Makai Cope, upping the lead to 56-7 with five minutes still left in the third quarter.

On CU’s ensuing possession, the Buffs doubled their first down output for the game. Throwing to tight ends (who knew that was possible?), Maddox Kopp finally had some success throwing the ball. Maddox followed a 12-yard completion to senior tight end Brady Russell with a 24-yard completion to Jack Hestera. A second completion to Russell, this one covering 14 yards, set the Buffs up at the Utah 29-yard line. Two plays later, facing a third-and-four at the Utah 23, freshman running back Anthony Hankerson did the rest. The 23-yard touchdown made it a 56-14 game late in the third.

With Utah finally playing to get out of town, the Buff defense forced a punt after only five plays, giving the CU offense the ball back to start the fourth quarter. The Buff offense, though, couldn’t put together back-to-back drives, giving the ball back to Oregon less than a minute of clock later.

Eight plays and 72 yards later, it was 63-14, with Jaylon Glover scoring on a five yard run midway through the final quarter of CU’s 2022 season.

Friends and family were all that were left in the stands as the Buff offense put together its best drive of the game. An 18-yard completion from Kopp to Dante Capolungo was almost offset by a 15-yard personal foul on Jack Hestera .. but the Buffs didn’t quit. A pass interference penalty on Utah, followed by two runs covering 11 yards by Anthony Hankerson set the Buffs up near midfield. A nine-yard completion from Kopp to Michael Harrison and a seven yard run by Maurice Bell helped move the ball to the Utah 29-yard line. Three more plays gained a total of  two yards, leaving the Buffs with a fourth-and-two at the Utah 26 yard line.

Rather than try a 43-yard field goal, the Buffs went for a first down. They were rewarded when Kopp completed a 12-yard pass to Montana Lemonious-Craig to the Utah 12-yard line. An 11-yard pass to Maurice Bell set the Buffs up at the one yard line with just under three minutes to play. On the next play, Kopp threw a one-yard touchdown pass to offensive lineman Frank Fillip on a tackle eligible play.

Utah took over at its 48 after the kickoff, and made it as far as the CU 29 … never taking a knee as Kyle Whittingham gave the football world yet another example of how to not win a game against an out-matched opponent with class.

Final score: No. 14 Utah 63, Colorado 21

“They’re dangerous, every team can be dangerous,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said, rationalizing going for first downs on fourth downs, and passing the ball late in the first half, when already up 35-0. “You never know what’s going to ignite a team on Senior Day. We were not taking them for granted and we prepared the right way.”

“Of course we all wanted different results,” Sanford said. “But we were playing with a lot of guys that really gutted it out. Not only did they not enter the transfer portal (after CU fired Karl Dorrell), they kept fighting. That to me is the biggest accomplishment of this group of players. Not only stay together as a team but also fight to the bitter end.”

Game Notes …  

— Utah has won 10 of the 12 games between the two schools that bookend the Rockies since both joined the Pac-12 and thus has taken a 34-32-3 series lead (CU leads 16-15-1 in Boulder);

— The Buffs finished 0-4 against ranked programs in 2022 (the final four games of the year: Oregon, USC, Washington, Utah; CU also played three others who were ranked during the 2022 season: TCU, Minnesota and Oregon State;

— CU’s Maddox Kopp became the fourth Buff to start a game during the season.  In the end, J.T. Shrout (7), Owen McCown (3), Brendon Lewis (1) made the other starts.  Colorado previously started three different signal callers in a season seven times: 1947, 1969, 1980, 1987, 1992, 2000 and 2012;

—  TE/OT Frank Fillip scored the first touchdown of his career on likely his final play as a Buff, as he walked with the seniors.  He was moved from OT to TE earlier this month; the last OL to score a TD was C Alex Kelley, who recovered a fumble in the end zone against Colorado State in 2016.  Does Fillip’s touchdown count?;

— Center Van Wells wound up starting eight games (six at center, two at left guard), just the 13th true freshman to start a game on the offensive line in CU history.  The eight tied for the second-most starts of the 13 players, one shy of the top mark (OG Brian Daniels started nine in 2003).  Wells is the only true freshman to ever start a game at the center position;

— CU assistant coach Darian Hagan became the ninth known person to play and/or work in some capacity for 300 or more CU games.  He also passed his college coach, Bill McCartney, into fourth for the most games coached (154); he also was a part of 62 as a football staff member, 35 as the Alumni C-Club director and 49 as a player;

— Wide receiver Daniel Arias played in his 53rd CU game, the most by any scrimmage player (was tied with TE Quinn Sypniewski, 2000-05).  Only P Alex Kinney played in more (54, 2015-19);

— With tailback Dante Capolungo and OT/TE Frank Fillip both making their first receptions of the year, a record 22 Buffaloes caught at least one pass in 2022;

— Running back Alex Fontenot finished his career with 1,558 rushing yards, which placed him 29th on the CU’s all-time list. He also finished with 84 points (67th) and amassed 1,829 all-purpose yards and 1,816 yards from scrimmage, with his 46 receptions ranking 68th (tied for 12th-most by a running back);

— Linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo finished his one-year Colorado career with 98 tackles (72 solo); he not only led the team in tackles overall, he also led in tackles for loss (13 including three quarterback sacks) and with five tackles for zero gains, he had 18 total stops at or behind the line of scrimmage;

— Cornerback Nikko Reed 56-yard interception return was the longest by a Buff since 2017, when Nick Fisher returned one 100 yards for a touchdown against California;

— Quarterback Maddox Kopp  (28-15-0, 123 yds, 1 touchdown, 102.3 rating) became the 55th player since 1959 to start a game at quarterback for Colorado (combining for a 27-27-1 record).  He is the 15th freshman (seventh redshirt) to start a game in that group;

Rushing: Deion Smith, Jr. (83-393, 4.7 avg., 2 TD)
Passing: J.T. Shrout, Jr. (203-90-8, 1,220, 7 TD; 98.3 rating)
Receptions: Montana Lemonious-Craig, Soph. (23-359, 15.6 avg., 3 TD)
Receiving (Yards): Jordyn Tyson, Fr. (22-470, 21.4 avg., 4 TD)
Scoring: Cole Becker, Soph. (53 points: 20-21 PAT, 11-13 FG)
Punting: Trent Carrizosa, Fr. (46-1,877, 40.8 avg., 10 In20, 2 50+, 36.5 net)
Punt Returns: Jordyn Tyson, Fr. (4-131, 32.8 avg., 1 TD)
Kickoff Returns: Nikko Reed, Soph. (19-430. 23.6 avg., 45 long, 0 TD)
Tackles: Josh Chandler-Semedo, Gr. (98)
Quarterback Sacks: Josh Chandler-Semedo, Gr. (3-19)
Interceptions: Nikko Reed, Soph. (2-56, 28.0 avg., 0 TD)
Special Team Points: Toren Pittman, Soph. (final total TBD)


6 Replies to “No. 14 Utah 63, Colorado 21”

  1. A couple of things really stood out to me. 1. Utah was classless. I hope the buff players that come back next year circle this game. There was no reason to run the score up like they did. 2. The defensive scheme is the worst I have ever seen. I could literally call where the hole would appear in our defense pre snap and I can show you how to influence the defense to create bigger holes. It is ridiculous. 3. Sanford has no idea what makes a good qb. Before the season the coaches were telling the insiders how good there qb room was. There is not a single d1 qb on this team. Now some of that is becuase they were practicing against the worst scheme I have ever seen but the fact that they could not figure that out is an indictment. I like him as a person, he needs to go coach some lower division teams and figure some stuff out. 3. While there is some talent on this team there was almost no effort today and talent without effort gets blown out. 4. Our tackling is atrocious. The new d coordinator is going to have to teach tackling. I was so positive at the beginning of the season. But it is clear this entire staff needs to find a new opportunity more commensurate with their skills. Where is the great “teaching”? I see poor technique nearly everywhere. Where is the creative play calling? Not trick plays but creative plays that get guys in space? At least we got rid of Dorrell before he could Hawkins us…. The next coach will have more talent than Embree did, now it will remain to be seen if we can keep them.

    1. “Classless”…how about playing defense. The CU coaching staff should have been fired at halftime after that performance…that was classless.

      The next coaching staff has ALOT work to do.

  2. An embarrassment to the game of college football, CU must incentivize the next coach’s contract big time. Low performance = less pay. So glad I didn’t spend a penny on tickets this year. Play like a respectable college football team that can actually complete a pass and the fans will eventually be back. Until then, we should be quite embarrassed with our university’s product on the field and the amount we paid for it. Pathetic.

    1. Thanks for making my day. Whew! Glad you watch the scheduling.

      Got any coaching experience? Or does the ad say no experience necessary?

      Go Buffs

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